Microsoft Licensing: Part 3 (server products)

This content is 16 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

In the first two parts of this series, I’ve looked at how many products need to be licensed for both the server and the client as well as licensing without client access licenses (CALs).

Because nothing is ever straightforward with licensing, this post takes a look at some of the complexities around licensing major Microsoft server products.

Starting out with Windows Server 2008, standard or enterprise edition, with or without Hyper-V, the server can be licensed using the per-seat model (with per-user or per-device CALs) or on a per-server basis (enforcing a number of connections for which the server is licensed). Web edition does not allow per-seat licensing (per-server only), whilst Datacenter edition (with or without Hyper-V) and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based systems use a hybrid model with the server licensed per-processor and CALs required for end-user connectivity.

There are some changes to Windows Server 2008 licensing (compared with 2003 R2):

  • Windows Server 2008 standard edition now includes a license to run a virtual operating system environment (OSE) – previously an enterprise edition license included 4 OSEs but standard had no such provision (I’ve written previously about Microsoft’s licensing arrangements for virtualisation). The physical and virtual instances can each run the current or any prior version of Windows (as long as the edition matches the licensed version).
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based systems is a new edition, licensed on the same basis as Datacenter edition (which is now available through volume licensing as well as OEM channels) with processor plus CAL licensing and unlimited virtual instances.
  • Windows Server 2008 web edition now allows any type of database software to be installed on the server with no limit on the number of connected users (previously limited to 25 users).

With respect to downgrade rights: Windows Server 2008 standard edition can be downgraded to a previous standard edition product (back as far as Windows 2000 Server); Windows Server 2008 enterprise edition can be downgraded to a previous enterprise edition product (back to Windows 2000 Advanced Server); and Windows Server 2008 datacenter edition can be downgraded to a previous datacenter edition product (back as far as Windows 2000 Datacenter Server).

Looking at the various SharePoint technologies:

  • Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) is included within a Windows Server license.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and Office Forms Server (OFS) 2007 are licensed according to the required features with standard and enterprise CALs or, for Internet-facing sites, there are MOSS 2007 for Internet sites and OFS 2007 for Internet sites licenses.
    • MOSS/OFS for Internet sites licenses are only for Internet-facing (non-employee access) or extranet-facing (internal and external access for employees and non-employees) sites and cannot be used for sites that are only for internal organisational use.
  • MOSS for Search standard edition is limited to indexing 500,000 documents (there is no such limit for enterprise edition); however there are no CALs required – just the server license.

It’s also important to remember that the underlying SQL Server database also needs to be licensed.

Exchange Server 2007 is licensed as a server product (standard or enterprise edition) and with CALs (standard or enterprise) for access with Office Outlook Web Access, Office Outlook Voice Access, Office Outlook Mobile or a third-party client. Where Office Outlook is used, this must be separately licensed. This is an important change – the Exchange Server 2003 CAL included the right to use Outlook, whereas an Exchange Server 2007 CAL does not; however an Exchange Server 2003 CAL purchased with software assurance (SA) retains the right to use Outlook.

Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 is licensed in a similar manner to Exchange – as a server product (standard or enterprise) with CALs (standard or enterprise) for access with Communicator Web Access (CWA) or Communicator Mobile. The Office Communicator client is licensed separately and Live Meeting access requires an enterprise CAL.

In the next post in this series, I’ll look at licensing System Center server products.

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